Why won’t the First Lady show up for her job?
I became obsessed with this question and eventually looked to Melania Trump’s Twitter history for answers.
I noticed that in the three-year period between June 3, 2012 and June 11, 2015 she tweeted 470 photos which she appeared to have taken herself. I examined these photographs as though they were a body of work.
Everyone has an eye, whether or not we see ourselves as photographers. What we choose to photograph and how we frame subjects always reveals a little about how we perceive the world.
Listen: Why the world needs to stop mocking the First Lady. (Post continues after audio.)
For someone like Melania, media-trained, controlled and cloistered, her collection of Twitter photography provides an otherwise unavailable view into the reality of her existence. Nowhere else — certainly not in interviews or public appearances — is her guard so far down.
What is that reality? She is Rapunzel with no prince and no hair, locked in a tower of her own volition, and delighted with the predictability and repetition of her own captivity.
Why not move to the White House? Let’s see.
In three years, Melania only posted one picture of herself and Trump. He dominates the frame; her face is in shadow and cropped out.
It is both a selfie and an erasure, a depiction of her placement within their world.